Remembering Third Winchester: The 150th Anniversary

virginia-newThis Saturday, September 20, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation will present the biggest event in its history: a day-long series of Battlefield Programs on the Third Winchester battlefield, centered on the historic Huntsberry Farm (on Redbud Road).  These programs, the centerpiece of three days of events commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the pivotal Civil War battle – the largest clash ever fought in the Valley – will include tours, historical talks, living history, demonstrations, youth programs, NPS Ranger Programs, and a special commemorative ceremony that will climax as dusk falls over the battlefield.

The commemorative program, “The World on Fire”: Third Winchester, which will begin at 6 pm, will look back at the battle, honor the men who fought, and focus on the ongoing work to preserve the battlefield today.  Featured speakers will include Jeffry Wert, historian and author of From Winchester to Cedar Creek; Julie Langan, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources; and Keven Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the SVBF.  The ceremony will also feature Civil War Era music, eyewitness battle accounts, and recognition of descendants.  The ceremony will conclude with a memorial to the men who fell, including a night-fire cannon salute, a roll call of soldiers representing each state that fought in the battle, floating lanterns, and a luminary walk.

The commemorative program will be accompanied by a Civil War Kids Adventure Camp, presented by the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, which will give young people ages 6-12 the chance to learn about the war and the battle while their parents attend the commemoration.  (The camp will begin at 5:30pm and end at the same time as the commemoration.)  Activities will include creating your own Civil War journal, a chance to “join up” to learn infantry drill, a “triage” activity on caring for the wounded, and a special introduction about the battle by a National Park Service Ranger. Parents can register their children that day, but space will be limited, so parents are encouraged to register early by calling the SVBF at (540) 740-4545.

The commemoration and kids camp will be the final chapters in a day-long series of programs that will begin at 9am.  Activities will include artillery and cavalry demonstrations, a living history camp, National Park Service Ranger programs, performances by the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era dancers and the Shenandoah Valley Shape Note Singers, and much more.  Special featured programs will include the “Walk in Their Footsteps” program (10 am), where visitors will have the chance to walk with living history units to retrace the paths of Confederate and Union units during the chaotic fighting; a guided walking tour (1 pm) with historian and author Scott Patchan, author of The Last Battle of Winchester, the “Attack Across Redbud Run” program (3:30 pm), where the National Park Service and living history units will immerse visitors in the story of the pivotal moment where Federal forces splashed across the Redbud Run to assault the hard-fighting Confederate defenders; and “The Longest and Hardest Day’s Fighting” (5 pm) a special talk on the impact and importance of the battle by Jeffry Wert.

In addition, food and merchandise vendors will be available throughout the day, including a Civil War book sale by the Harper’s Ferry Bookshop, featuring a wide selection of Civil War books, including books by presenters such as Scott Patchan, Jeffry Wert, and Jonathan Noyalas

The Battlefield Programs on Saturday, September 20, are the centerpiece of three days of programs commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle.  The programs on Friday, September 19, will include a real-time Motorcoach Tour, Ranger Station Programs, a History at Sunset program at the Confederate and National Cemeteries, and an “Eyewitness to History” downtown walking tour with historian Jonathan Noyalas.  The rograms on Sunday, September 21, will include a car caravan tour on the cavalry charge at the Third Winchester by Jeffry Wert and Keven Walker; tours, living history, and special programs at Star Fort; and a downtown walking tour by Frank Jenkins.

For more information about all of the programs from September 19-21, including costs, locations, maps, and registration information, go to www.ShenandoahAtWar.org. For additional information, call the SVBF at 540-740-4545540-740-4545 or email raitcheson@svbf.net.

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As authorized by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation serves as the non-profit manager of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, partnering with local, regional, and national organizations and governments to preserve the Valley’s battlefields and interpret and promote the region’s Civil War story.

Created by Congress in 1996, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District encompasses Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties in Virginia and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester.  The legislation authorizes federal funding for the protection of ten battlefields in the District: Second Winchester, Third Winchester, Second Kernstown, Cedar Creek, Fisher’s Hill, Tom’s Brook, New Market, Cross Keys, Port Republic, and McDowell.

         
 

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